Jalen Green takes a shot for Lindbergh High School. // Photo courtesy of Joshua Bessex/The News TribuneKyle Fang
The Western men’s basketball team will welcome five new players to help boost their roster for the upcoming season. The team hopes to make a return to the playoffs after an early exit from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 2018.
Last season, the Vikings finished with a 21-8 record. This year, the team seeks another 20-win season, which would mark the 20th such season in school history.
The Vikings will add two incoming freshmen: forward Jalen Green from Renton and guard D’Angelo Minnis from Covington.
The three other new players are transfers. Guard Tucker Eenigenburg comes from Bakersfield, California, and forwards Cameron Retherford and K.J. Bosco come from Portland, Oregon.
All five newcomers will strengthen the backcourt and frontcourt depth of the team.
Bosco, who stands at 6 feet 8 inches, said the winning nature of Western’s basketball team ultimately made his decision to transfer easier.
“It was one of the highest ranked schools to attend,” Bosco said. “That’s important to me because I really want to win a championship. I also want to continue playing basketball after school, and I feel like WWU has the connections to get me there when the time comes.”
After recovering from knee surgery this past season, Bosco is focused on overcoming this obstacle.
“Dealing with this knee surgery from last year was challenging, so I’m making sure that I get the right things done, and physical therapy will be important for me to reach my goals,” Bosco said.
Joining Bosco will be his former teammate Retherford, a 6-foot-9-inch forward from Portland Community College. Retherford averaged 13.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in 59 appearances during his two-year stint with Portland. Retherford and Bosco will be juniors when they suit up for the Vikings this upcoming season.
The Vikings will also add Eenigenburg, a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Bakersfield College. Eenigenburg will look to instill his competitive spirit on Western’s basketball team.
“I bring toughness and a strong competitive nature,” Eenigenburg said. “I also try to be the best teammate I can be and lead by example. I love to win, so I’ll be a good fit in Western’s very competitive program.”
Many factors influenced Eenigenburg’s decision to transfer to Western.
“The school and basketball program fit with what I wanted in a university,” Eenigenburg said. “The campus is beautiful, they have strong academics, the coaches are great and the high level of competition in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.”
Eenigenburg said he has worked on improving all aspects of his game during the offseason.
“I’ve been focused on getting my handles tighter, increasing my arsenal of moves and creating my own shots in higher volume,” Eenigenburg said. “My game is coming along nicely.”
Additionally, the Vikings will introduce Green, a 6-foot-7-inch forward. Green was a dominant scorer, achieving strong individual success during his career at Lindbergh Senior High School. Last season, he averaged 26.7 points per game and 13.6 rebounds. Green is a three-time first team all-league selection and scored over 1,000 points during his career.
The shooting ability of Green will be an X factor for the Vikings.
“I feel like I bring a versatility and good scoring option while I’m on the floor,” Green said. “I will help stretch the floor and open up options for my teammates.”
The addition of Minnis, a 5-foot-11-inch point guard from Kentwood High School, will help bolster the perimeter shooting for the Vikings.
“My strengths are my 3-point shots, shooting ability and my quickness getting to my spots in order to create advantages for my team,” Minnis said. “I also think my on-ball defense is a strong suit.”
Minnis has been working on his game this offseason to take his skills to another level.
“I’ve been working on a lot of floaters and layups since I will have to be a lot smarter around taller defenders in college,” Minnis said.
The men’s basketball team will begin its season on Nov. 9 in La Jolla, California, against California State University Dominguez Hills in the University of California San Diego Tournament.